‘Lake Shore Drive’ Song Writer Skip Haynes Dead

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago guitarist Skip Haynes, who wrote the song “Lake Shore Drive,” and was the last surviving member of the 1970s rock band Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, has died.

Haynes wrote the hit song as an homage to the city’s famed lakefront highway in 1970. It was released on the band’s 1971 album of the same name.

The song has resurfaced over the years, most recently in the film “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.”

“It was such a rush. What a story. He wrote that song 50 years ago,” said Haynes’ business partner, Dana Walden.

Walden said there’s talk of spreading Haynes’ ashes on Lake Shore Drive.

“I don’t know if it’s appropriate that we say anything about that,” he said.

The Smithe brothers used the song in a commercial for their Walter E. Smithe furniture stores in 2012, showing them singing along in the Batmobile and the Mach 5 from “Speed Racer.”

Haynes told WBBM he loved the ad.

“The fact that they got Speed Racer and the Batmobile, that just blew me away,” he said. “It’s like, where’d they get those in Chicago? That’s great!”

Haynes, a Chicago native, got together with bassist Mitch Aliotta, of Berwyn, and his brother, drummer Ted Aliotta, at the Earl of Old Town folk club on Wells Street in 1970. Ted Aliotta was later replaced by pianist John Jeremiah, of Chester, Ill., who had gained a following with the Carbondale garage band the Nite Owls, and with Mitch Aliotta in the Chicago psychedelic soul band the Rotary Connection.

In an interview on the WTTW-Channel 11 program “Wild Chicago” in the 1990s, Haynes explained that he wrote “Lake Shore Drive” after cruising down the lakeside highway around 4 a.m. in January 1970 in an Opel GT, on a night fueled by tequila and cocaine.

He wrote out the conversation in song form, and played it to his bandmates at the Gate of Horn nightclub at Broadway and Briar Place in the East Lakeview neighborhood.

Haynes told “Wild Chicago” host Will Clinger that at the time, he had “never intended for the song to be played again, ever.” But the band’s recording of the song began getting radio airplay about a year later, and suddenly, the song was a hit and Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah became household names.

Haynes composed a new version of “Lake Shore Drive” last year, after the infamous Blizzard of 2011 left motorists snowed in and stranded on the Outer Drive.

“I should have filled the tank before I left. I would have if I knew,” a refrain in the 2011 song goes.

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